Daniel Suarez celebrates in victory lane after winning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East UNOH Battle at Daytona International Speedway
Daniel Suarez is 2-for-2 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Suarez won the UNOH Battle of the Beach race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. He won the season opener at New Smyrna Speedway and has three career wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
He also has a remarkable eight top-three finishes in 10 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East races.
Daniel Suarez and Austin Hill lead the field in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East UNOH Battle at Daytona International Speedway
"I just wake up in the morning and I really love what I do," said the 22-year-old Suarez who is from Monterrey, Mexico. "I'm really thankful with God for this opportunity. I just work hard every day. Everyone in the whole racing team. All this hard work is paying off."
Suarez dominated the second-half of the race. He led a race-high 119 laps, taking over the lead on lap 32.
Ben Rhodes won the pole but Gray Gaulding, who started third, led the first 32 laps of the race. Gaulding faded at the end of the race and finished in seventh place.
Rhodes ran into trouble in a collision midway through the race. He crossed the finish line in 15th place.
There were eight caution periods for 54 laps. Suarez said the last caution periods were the most challenging.
"The last yellow flags were really, really difficult for me," Suarez said.
Austin Hill finished in second place. He started on the front row with Rhodes. It was Hill's second top-five finish in his past three K&N Pro Series East starts.
"Being able to start on the outside pole was a good motivation for the race," Hill said. "We had a really good car. I thought we were going to have the 6 (Suarez), but on the restart he was so much faster than us. All in all we had a really good race."
Daniel Suarez celebrates his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory at Daytona International Speedway
Brandon McReynolds, who will be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West full time, was third in the Battle of the Beach race.
"It was definitely eventful and a little up and down," McReynolds said. "We kind of put ourselves in a bind in qualifying. Daniel was just good. The 22 with Austin was really good. I kind of believed it was better off to race those guys hard. I'm here to race and I want to do it the right way. I don't mind roughing somebody up, but I'm not going to wreck half the field. It was a lot of fun."
After two races, Suarez leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings by 18 points over Lee Pulliam. Pulliam was fifth in the Battle of the Beach race. He also finished in fifth place in the season opener at New Smyrna Speedway.
"I cannot explain with words what I feel right now," Suarez said. "I feel really lucky to be in this position right now."
Kenzie Ruston, who finished in sixth in the Battle of the Beach race, is in third place in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings, one point behind Pulliam for second place. Gaulding is in fourth place, two points behind Pulliam.
The next NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race is the PittLite 125 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee on March 15.